Cii News | 18 March 2014/16 Jumadal Ula 1435
Following the conclusion of the South African Hajj and Umrah Council’s(SAHUC) Board and NGC meeting over the weekend in Gauteng, the Hajj regulator has announced the reopening of its systems for the registration of aspirant Hujjaaj.
The database which had been closed for almost a year due to a waiting list numbering in the thousands, will be reopened at the beginning of April to process applications.
Speaking to Cii Radio’s Sabahul Khair, SAHUC President Shaheen Essop said the move was necessitated by repeated requests from members of the public to join the queue.
“People have come to the realisation that if you are not on the queue for Hajj, then there is certainly no way to be eligible for accreditation or get a visa.”
Essop says Hajj ‘queuing’ systems are not without precedent around the world. Malaysia, for instance, he says, has a 33 year waiting list, where registration is a continuous process.
“All we are trying to do is maintain a logical queue, and a structure people are going to be conducive with that is fair and equitable,” he added.
Applicants who register, however, will not be considered for accreditation for at least the next two years, according to the President, who said the current backlog stands at about 13 thousand applicants.
Official protocol communications have not yet been received from Saudi Arabia, but indications are that the Hajj quota for South Africa in 1435 will remain unchanged at 2000. Essop said that the 500 Hujaaj who were de-accredited last year due to the quota reduction will be allotted the first places.
“No priority is given to anybody based on age,” the president clarified. ” Our rules are very clear and concise, it is based on date and time priority in the queue”.
Essop also announced a change in the regulator’s fee tariffs which will see the application fee increase to R200 and the SAHUC service fee for Hujaaj scale to R900, effective from this year.
He said the move was necessitated by the economic climate and a need by the regulator to recover its costs.
“The Rand-Dollar exchange over the last few years has cost SAHUC most considerably in terms of its provision of services to the Hujaaj in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and we still have a situation of under-recovery, and hence this particular fee increase was required and is necessary.”
SAHUC will begin accreditation of Hujaaj for the 1435/2014 Hajj season after a series of Hajj awareness days to be held nationwide on the 11th, 12th and 13th of April 2014.